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Garn Boduan (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

I've wanted to come here to Garn Boduan for so long that I cant tell how long I've been waiting, nor do I know how I first learned about it, it seems like we've been waiting for ever to get to meet each other, and when we met (it was murder) the pleasure was all mine, seeing as Garn Boduan is an inanimate object, not alive, or is it. No its not, or is it.

This is the third peak of the day and not the last, and to tell you honestly i'm really quite crackered, things just aint what they used to be. I parked on the B4354 where I presume Gladman did, and started the long walk, hopefully there would be no explosion at the end, unless it's an explosion of enlightenment.
Despite my exhaustion the walk up the switchback path wasn't unpleasant, the trees are nice, the views are nice and the weather is still uncharacteristically nice.
Eventually I reach the fort, my first sight of the forts entrance brought a cry of relief from me, "that's an entrance" I gasped, just as a bloke and his son emerged from god knows where, I presume they didn't hear me and nod sagely as I pass them. I'm in the fort.

Once through the entrance I'm confronted with a superabundance of large hut circles, but I turn my back on them all momentarily and continue up the hill, there's a "Citadel" at the top of the hill and that is where I shall start my exploration of the fort. En route to the citadel a couple with a barking dog barr my way, the dog is barking at me of course, I must ooze postie from every pore by now, but I do what I must and I stride through the heather to confront my noisy assailant, why do some people seem to have no control over their animals, they never told it to shut up once, I still smile at them as I pass, but shoot the dog an unsympathetic glare.
They tell me its windy up there, talk about superfluous information.
When I hear the word citadel, I cant help thinking of The Lord of the rings, Minas Tirith mostly. But here on Garn Boduan a citadel apparently is nowt more than a broken wall on top of a hill, no knights, no ale quaffing, and no needy princess, lots of wind though.
I'm not disappointed though, far from it, sat out of the wind in what I presume is a walkers shelter built into one end of the wall, I've got a good view of the Rivals and my sexy hill, and much more besides. After a good long rest I get my camera out and set to having a good look round the cit, nope I cant do it, it's just the top of the hill, ok, so I'm looking round the top of the hill and it's a bit confusing really. The top of the hill isn't a big place, at either end of the hilltop is a pile of rubble with scooped out interiors and inbetween them a wall, the wall is still very together and good looking in places. The piles of rubble could be cairns, I hear, and that kind of makes sense, but why have a wall join them, confusing.
From on top, I should be able to see lots hut circles all round me, the information board has them all over the place, but the heather is quite high, and though the huts are without doubt there theyre walls are all quite low, unlike those at Tre'r Ceiri.

So I start the walk back to the south west corner of the fort where all the visible hut circles are. On route another dog starts barking at me, I shall call him Barky, Barky the stupid dog, his mistress to be fair told him to stop it and shut up but he refused and barked at me constantly, I sat and watched and waited for them to go, here theres a cliff type thing where you can stand above the hut circles and take them all in, they do look really good, one of them has walls five times higher than the rest, Im guessing, but I think this one is the one folk sit and eat butties out of the wind in or someone likes to do a spot of wild camping in, i'll just build that wall up a little bit.
Even here though on the lowest terraces only those huts in the south end of the fort are visible, why cant we see more? has there been some clearing or restoration work done.
Passing by several well defined but low circles I get to the wall, but it's too overgrown to have the prescribed circuit of the fort,
so I concentrate on the houses.
They're walls are not as tall as those at Tre'r Ceiri, but better than those at Carn Fadryn, so the middle fort has the middle best hut circles, if that makes any sense at all, I congratulate you.
Then lastly it's back to the entrance, there is now nobody round to bark at me or overhear me talking to myself, so I have a good look round, I try and follow the wall through the trees round the corner, but it's all too dense, so I sit for a while on the entrance, it's all very well defined and the stonework is good, and that's about it, how much can one say about a long big pile of stones with a gap in it, it's old and it looks good, and i'm betting much much more, if you reeeally try.
That's it for round here now, it's time for a long drive down near Barmouth for the last fort of the day, I'm not sure I have the energy or the time but I'm going for it anyway.

Bryn Castell (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

This is not the best hill fort in North Wales, it's not even the best hill fort within site of Cader Idris, bit it is a North Walean hill fort within site of Cader Idris and that alone gets it on to my list.
Leaving Barmouth east alongside the Mawddach estuary on the A496, turn left at Bontddu, and follow this road all the way, one gate has to be opened and shut, a large parking place soon presents itself, avail yourself of it's services, and walk. It's a gentle up hill walk for about a half mile, the fort is soon in view.
It's only a small settlement, large enough for a single house with family, but they still felt the need to build a large wall round it. Perhaps the other fort across the river had some impact on them.
The highest point of this little fort has a large pile of rubble on it, I don't know what it is or was, I like to think it is the site of the house, surely it must be.
The stone rubble that was the wall round it does not now go all the way round it, on the west side it's all grassed over, to the extent that I could not discern an entrance to the site.

It was the mountain view that drew me here, and had the sky remained the same all day it would have been a fine view. But sadly the day has turned, the mountains hidden in cloud and now i'm being snowed on, so it must be time to go, but not before I up my thumbs to the Mawddach estuary and Pared-y-Cefn-Hir hill fort across the way, always great in any weather.

Bryn Castell (Hillfort) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Garn Boduan (Hillfort) — Images

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Mynydd Carnguwch (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

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Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn) (Hillfort) — Images

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Gyrn Ddu (Cairn(s)) — Images

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Yr Eifl (Round Cairn) — Images

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Tre'r Ceiri (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Cor my blimey it's been ten years since I was last here, time passes far too quickly, in the end there may not be time to do everything one wants, so this spring equinox provides me with the drive to get out and see a few hill forts. Leaving the house at 4am, the plan is to get to Tre'r Ceiri before the sun rises. I very nearly made it too, after parking in the wrong layby, and following the wrong path, which then vanishes whilst I'm checking on the suns progress, forcing me to pick a route, any route, and go up, I'm getting too old for this shite, clearly. The sun approved of my star watching position, sat amid big stone scree two thirds of the way up and granted me a quick glimpse of it's starry magnificence, before it clothed itself in low clouds hanging over the Moelwyns. It was a quickie sunrise, the sun was as it always is at daybreak, the golden glow wrapped the land in beauty and I smiled my sunrise smile, then it was over, it was like the sun knew I had a few things to do today so it let me get on my way, which I did. I knew early on that I was going up the wrong way, nay, the very wrong way, but it didn't take me by surprise when upon reaching the very top right next to the cairn, it wasn't just the wrong way up, it is by far the hardest.
But, easy or steep, hard or soft, I had reached the top. It was windy, really very quite windy, but it was sunny and the countryside was looking good, the sun came back out and after a sit upon the cairn, which was lots bigger than I remembered, I set off down the north west wall. Until I came into the hole in the wall, is it an entrance, a secret exit, is it originally original, post Roman, or what, I sat here too, relishing the stones humble gift of wind blocking. Follow the wall south to the big posh entrance, wonder in silence for a minute or three, then dive into the interior of the fort to get lost among the houses.
There's maybe a dozen places in the whole of Britain where you can see and touch the past in such a satisfying manner as this, I love the closeness of the houses to each other, I love the size of the walls and the perfect corners, surely there must be some restoration at work here, but it doesn't matter at all, I am far too blown away to dig up such minor trifles. Now over at the east wall north of the entrance where I should have come in. I sit at the battlements, the rocky outcrop that grows out of the wall, from here Mynydd Carngwch has it's most evocative side to me, it has the desired effect once more, bending myself back into the upright position I walk over to some hut circles packed in right up to the wall. Then after a bit more hutting I'm back at the main west entrance facing Yr Eifl. It is now that I must decide whether or not to put into action part two of my plan, climb up there and have a meet with the big cairn, I'm cold and a bit knackered, hungry, thirsty, but whilst thinking these thoughts my feet decide for me and i'm off, striding across the wilderness like a man with a plan, which I aint.

It has to be said that though Tre'r Ceiri is a brilliant place to be, the place you want to see it from is on top of Yr Eifl, god what an eyeful.
Outstanding.

Tre'r Ceiri (Hillfort) — Images

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Showing 1-50 of 9,066 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: